BOOK REPORT for Avalon (Avalon Book 1) by Mindee Arnett

 

Cover Story: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You 
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale:
 3
Talky Talk: Straight Up Expository Overload
Bonus Factors:
 Ocean's 11, Dead Zone
Relationship Status: Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am

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Avalon

Cover Story: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

If this cover is giving you a serious sense of déjà vu, it’s because you've already seen it in every other movie poster from the previous year. Overdone or not, this is still a pretty cool cover, even the twisty metal looks like something from Michael Bay’s imagination.

The Deal:

Y’all, there is SO MUCH STORY in this book, but even plot points from 50 pages in feel like spoiler territory. So trust when I say I’m leaving A LOT out.

Centuries into the future, human settlement has reached the far ends of the galaxy, thanks to metatech, a technology that allows for travel faster than the speed of light. And it’s a real power struggle between the main players who want to control the metatech: the intragalactic crime syndicates, and the equally corrupt Interstellar Transport Authority. (You think traveling’s tough now? The ITA will have you wishing for long lines at airport security.)

Working for one such crime boss is a team of teenage mercenaries, led by Jeth Seagrave. Sure, stealing spaceships may be wrong, but this crew is just so good at it. Plus, all Jeth wants to do is to buy back his parents’ ship, Avalon, and move to a planet free of political dramz with his younger sister. But when Jeth finds himself in the crossfires between the government and the criminals, his quest for freedom is going to have to take a backseat to all the CRAZY STUFF that’s about to go down. 

BFF Charm: Yay

Even though I kept mentally added "-ro Tull" to the end of his name, I could sense fall-in-love-with potential in Jeth before the first chapter even ended. His restless spirit constantly craves adventure, and homeboy can pilot a SPACESHIP. And having had to step up big time when his parents died, Jeth’s devotion to his little sister makes him even more dateworthy.

But once I got to know him better, I realized that he and I would be better off as friends. Even though Jeth’s bitterness toward not having much of a childhood is completely justified, it still grew a bit tiresome. He’s also kind of a fairy-tale hater, so obvi we were never meant to be. And, y’know, Jeth’s a criminal. That probably should have been a bigger deal breaker than the fairy tale thing. (Blogging: unearthing disturbing revelations, one post at a time!)

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

As poised as he is in leadership roles, Jeth is goofy when it comes to relationships. He’s actually in a self-imposed girl drought, but as the score above indicates, that doesn’t last for long. Although I could have done without any swoon, since I found the chemistry between Jeth and his love interest to be fairly tepid—but not for a lack of trying on their parts.

Talky Talk: Straight Up Expository Overload

Avalon is so fast-paced and action-packed that the pages just flew by for me. My devouring of this book was only impeded by the occasional conversational info dump; I prefer show over tell as it is, but this dialogue doesn’t have enough sizzle to make those expository interludes work. Still, this book gives great plot, with twists and turns that only scratch at the surface of this ambitious series.

Bonus Factor: Ocean’s 11

In terms of blurb buzzwords, a ragtag team of experts is basically my equivalent of a mic drop, i.e. 'NUFF SAID, MUST HAVE BOOK. I would have actually liked to see more of the non-Seagrave Malleus Shades members (because Malleus Shades is something they sincerely use to call themselves), but I guess there's plenty of time to do so in the sequel(s).

Bonus Factor: Dead Zone

One of the Malleus Shades’ jobs takes them to the Belgrave Quadrant, a section of the galaxy notorious for the strange and mysterious incidents that occur within it. Is it just urban legend, or has the reputation rightfully been earned? Either way: s-p-o-o-k-y.

Casting Call:

As tempted as I was to cast Teenage Nathan Fillion as Jeth (given the space angle, and there’s a character named Hammer), I’ll go with someone a bit more age appropriate.

Cameron Monaghan as Jeth

Relationship Status: Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am

This book delivers non-stop action; it has no problems stamina, if you know what I mean. While that’s fine for a fling, it wants a longer commitment from me, and that’s something I really can’t promise. Maybe we can split the difference and just become friends with benefits.

Avalon is available now.

Mandy lives in Edmonton, AB, where she does science-y things for work, bloggish things for Forever Young Adult, and froyo things for always.